The telemarketing industry is facing a fresh battering, following claims that 3.2 million Brits are too afraid to answer their phones because of nuisance calls, while 8.8 million find such marketing “stressful”.
The claims are made in a new study by debt-charity StepChange, whose “Got Their Number” survey also found that more than 45 million people have received unsolicited calls or text messages from businesses and 26 million had been offered high-interest credit, like payday loans, through such unexpected calls and texts.
The charity claimed existing consumer safeguards, such as the Telephone Preference Service, were “ineffective”. Head of policy Peter Tutton said: “These types of calls and messages are more than just an everyday inconvenience. They risk causing severe stress and anxiety for vulnerable consumers, as well as potentially exacerbating existing mental health problems.
“For those people in financial hardship the offer of quick and easy cash may be incredibly tempting, but the reality is that they are almost certainly being pushed deeper into trouble.”
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “It is especially worrying that financially vulnerable consumers are being encouraged to take out extortionate payday loans they can’t afford.
“We urgently need the Government to step in with a new approach, new laws and new technology to tackle this menace and put people back in control of their personal data.”
The All-Parliamentary Committee for Culture, Media & Sport is set to publish the findings of its investigation into the issue of nuisance calls and texts later this week.
However, the fight against rogue companies took a major hit last week when the High Court threw out the record £440,000 fine against text spammers Tetrus Telecoms – issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office in November last year – after ruling the data watchdog could not prove the company’s action had caused distress or damage.
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